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Ljus omvandlar koldioxid till metan

Forskare vid Duke University, USA har utvecklat nanopartiklar som hjälper till att omvandla koldioxid till metan genom att använda ultraviolett ljus som energikälla. Teamet hoppas kunna utveckla en version som kan fungera med naturligt solljus.

Kemister har länge sökt efter en effektiv, ljusdriven katalysator för att skapa den här reaktionen. Den skulle kunna hjälpa till att reducera koldioxiden i atmosfären genom att omvandla den till metan, som är en viktig byggsten i många typer av bränslen.

Nanopartiklarna består av rodium, en mycket stark silvervit metall, som effektiviserar den kemiska reaktionen, men även sorterar bort andra oönskade ämnen till förmån för metan. Den starka selektiviteten i katalyseringen kan sannolikt användas för andra kemiska reaktioner, enligt forskarna.

Trots att rodium är en av de mest sällsynta metallerna på jorden, spelar den en viktig roll i vår vardag. Små mängder av rodium används för att snabba upp olika industriella processer som vid produktion av läkemedel, tvättmedel och gödningsämnen. Rodium spelar även en central roll för att bryta ner giftiga föroreningar via katalysatorerna i avgassystemen i våra bilar.

Läs mer om denna forskning i ScienceDaily.

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